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Tory MP in ‘gay sex abuse’ at Commons

Nigel Evans, second from left, arrives at Preston Crown Court for the first day of his trial. Picture: Getty

Nigel Evans, second from left, arrives at Preston Crown Court for the first day of his trial. Picture: Getty

  • by MARGARET DAVIES
 

Drink-fuelled MP Nigel Evans used his “powerful” ­political influence to sexually take advantage of seven young men, a court heard.

The former deputy speaker, who had the “ability to make or break” careers, assaulted alleged victims in his home, House of Commons bars and his office in the Palace of Westminster, a jury at Preston Crown Court heard yesterday on the first day of his trial.

One sexual assault is said to have taken place when he was “plastered” in the “Number 10” bar at a Conservative Party conference in 2003, when he ­allegedly put his hand down the trousers of his victim and the matter was referred to a senior Tory official.

It is claimed another incident happened when he allegedly grabbed the penis of another young man sleeping on a sofa at his home in 2009.

Evans, 56, had a meeting with Tory chief whip Patrick McLoughlin, and was “spoken to” and told not to put himself in such situations again. But his behaviour “escalated” and he was not reported to police for another three years after allegedly raping another young man, the jury was told.

Evans faces nine charges, dating from 2002 to 1 April last year. The MP for Ribble Valley, in Lancashire, denies two counts of indecent assault, six of sexual assault and one of rape.

Opening the case, prosecutor Mark Heywood QC said: “Within the Palace of Westminster, in his constituency and in his own political party, Mr Evans was, during the decade with which you are concerned, a very well-known and powerful individual.

“Part of his influence included the ability to make, or to break, the careers of those young people who themselves would be politicians or work for those who govern.

“The prosecution case against Mr Evans is that he, often when in drink, pressed his sexual ­attentions on those younger men, using or trading on his position of influence. Now, this behaviour did not happen once but has been repeated over time and despite repeated warnings given to him by others.

“It has also escalated in seriousness, no doubt because he believed that his position made it less than likely that someone would complain.”

Police began an investigation after Evans allegedly raped a 22-year-old man who spent the night at his home in Pendleton, Lancashire, last year. Both went to sleep but the student alleges he awoke a couple of hours later when he was raped on the bed.

Details of the events were later passed to an MP who in turn told the Speaker John Bercow but did not disclose the names of the complainants. The Speaker brought the matter to the police’s attention, “having considered the matter, thinking it was the appropriate course to take”, said the prosecutor.

The first alleged offence happened 11 years before, in late 2002, with the complainant an openly gay man, aged 27.

The House of Commons worker was in a busy Soho bar and Evans was also there and had “obviously had quite a lot to drink”, said Mr Heywood.

“Whilst the complainant was standing talking to someone else, he felt a hand going down the back of his trousers.

“So, you understand, there was no words, no warning or invitation. He was shocked by it but, and this you will see repeated over time, he did not want to cause a fuss because of who Mr Evans was.”

The jury heard another complainant was drinking with a friend in a bar called Number 10 at the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool during the 2003 Conservative Party conference.

The MP was “plastered” and stood next to the complainant when ‘“without warning or any kind of invitation’’, he tried to put his hand into his trousers.

A member of the Conservative Party board then stepped in and moved the defendant away from the group. But about ten minutes later Evans returned and “did exactly the same thing again’’, said Mr Heywood.

At the time, Evans occupied a “significant political job’’ as shadow secretary of state for Wales.

The next alleged victim was a gay man, aged 21, who was interested in working in parliament.

The MP, who appeared drunk, drew a curtain behind them on a small lobby near the Strangers Bar at Westminster and tried to kiss the young man.

Mr Heywood outlined the fourth alleged sexual assault, in early July 2009, involving a bisexual young man, which was said to have taken place in Evans’s house in Pendleton

The jury heard of two more alleged assaults, one shortly after the 2010 general election in the Strangers Bar. Another was said to have taken place when a young gay man was with others drinking at bars in the Palace of Westminster in February 2011.

Evans denies all the allegations and the trial continues.

 
 
 

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